Jindal announces MFP pilot program

Jindal announces MFP pilot program
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POSTED: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 2:32pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - 10:50am

BATON ROUGE, La -- Today, Governor Bobby Jindal announced his administration’s continued commitment to protect education funding by fully funding the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) for K-12 education in the FY 2012 budget. The Governor also announced plans to begin a student-based budgeting pilot program in fall 2011 in six parishes. Governor Jindal emphasized that the main goal of student-based budgeting is to help improve student achievement by leveraging state dollars strategically.

Governor Jindal said, “This student-based budgeting pilot announcement today is truly a step forward in spending dollars strategically to support student achievement. Student-based budgeting will empower principals and districts to use the dollars they have as effectively as possible. As we continue to protect education funding in the upcoming budget, we must also ensure that we are implementing policies aimed at improving student outcomes. I am confident that with the leadership of these superintendents in the pilot for student-based budgeting, we are well on the way to making that goal a reality.

“Too often today the decision-making power over what is best for a child happens far away from the classroom. Student-based budgeting brings this decision-making power closer to the student by allowing principals to partner with teachers, parents, and other community stakeholders in establishing budget priorities. Providing principals with direct supervision and autonomy over school budgets will place those decisions in the hands of those who know students’ needs the best so we can improve student achievement.

“We know there will be those this session who want to cut MFP funding, but we have committed to BESE and superintendants that we will fight to protect MFP funding in the session. Indeed, we expect BESE to vote in the coming days on a no-growth, fully funded MFP formula and we will support that in our budget. This means the MFP will increase from $3.31 billion in this year’s budget to $3.38 billion in next year's budget. State general fund within the MFP will grow from almost $3.07 billion to 3.14 billion, an increase of more than $74.8 million.”

The seven parishes that will take part in the pilot program include Jefferson, Sabine, Terrebonne, St. John, Assumption, Lafourche, and Iberville parishes. The superintendents of these parishes joined the Governor for the announcement, including: Jo Ann Matthews of Lafourche, Philip Martin of Terrebonne, Dorman Jackson of Sabine, Deputy Superintendant Richard Carpenter of Jefferson, Courtney Millet of St. John, Earl Martinez of Assumption, and Ed Cancienne of Iberville.

The pilot program has three major steps. First, the pilot superintendents, their staffs, and the Louisiana Department of Education (DOE) will work together to identify the unique budgeting issues in each of their districts, and create a plan for how to address them from the menu of options offered by student-based budgeting. Second, DOE and BESE will work with superintendents to train district leadership and principals in the budgeting tools and knowledge that will lead to successful implementation. Third and finally, pilot districts and schools will apply student based budgeting to the FY 2013 budgeting process in spring 2012.

Governor Jindal supported BESE’s decision to study student-based budgeting last spring to lift some of the red tape and hurdles that hold school districts back. BESE convened a taskforce of superintendents, principals, and other stakeholders to research and discuss how student-based budgeting might serve students better and improve outcomes in Louisiana schools.

BESE met with district leaders and principals who are using student-based budgeting today. Variations of student-based budgeting are currently used across the country, from Oakland, California to rural Utah, to Hartford, Connecticut. In fact, Denver Public Schools just announced that through their student-based budgeting model, they would push $10 million in more funding into the classroom – while taking an overall cut of $15 million to their budget.

The Governor emphasized that there is no single model for student-based budgeting. Student-based budgeting is flexible and adaptable to meet the unique goals and needs of the schools involved. It has some common components, which include:

· Funding that follows the child and reflects the child’s unique needs

· Performance goals aligned with budgeting practices for schools

· Principals trained to be entrepreneurial leaders of their schools

· Elimination of inefficient district level “support” expenditures

· Rerouting of savings gained from this streamlining to school level academic activities

Student-based budgeting also addresses inequities in funding between schools in a district.

The Governor noted that this means there could be two schools with the same number of students down the street from one another spending vastly different amounts per-pupil. By contrast, student-based budgeting supports budgets that are built on per-student allocations where dollars follow the child and are determined by each child’s individual needs – which is similar to the way MFP dollars are weighted based on poverty, special needs, and other student attributes.

Highlights Of Achievements In Louisiana’s K-12 Education System

· Competitively compensated Louisiana’s teachers, maintaining teacher pay at the SREB average even in the midst of the economic downturn.

· Protected the K-12 MFP funding formula from reductions in the last three years, even while cutting other areas of the state budget.

o In FY09 the MFP was increased by 2.75 percent.

o In FY10, while other departments and programs saw midyear budget reductions, the MFP received an increase of $53.9 million for increased student count.

o In FY11, the MFP was fully funded at $3.3 billion.

· The FY 11 funding level of $3.32 billion reflects an increase of $194 million since FY 08. This means, MFP funding has increased by 6.2 percent since Governor Jindal took office.

· Adjusted funding to take into account increases and decreases in student enrollment that more accurately reflect the student count.

· Connected funding to “follow the child” when students are transferred to juvenile justice facilities, and streamlining financial support for these students.

· Targeted more MFP funds toward dropout prevention to ensure all students have an opportunity to get the skills they need.

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